By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
U N Human Rights Council, 19th session March 2012 Geneva 27 February– 23 March 2012
Agenda item 3: Promotion of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Oral statement by Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
On behalf of United Schools International
9 March 2012
The third annual report the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children (submitted to the Council in accordance with General Assembly resolution 65/197 on 13 January 2012), calls on the Member States to renew their commitments to step up efforts in protecting and promoting the rights of children.
But many states, particularly in the Muslim-majority countries, while paying vague lip service to these commitments, are not actually heeding the urges of the world community. Madrasa education given to millions of Muslim children, across the world, for instance, is one example.
Both the *Declarations emanating from Arab countries, Marrakesh 2010 and Cairo 2009, provided in the report, are full of high-sounding resolutions on protecting the rights of children. But it is wealthy Arab countries that fund the tens of thousands of madrasas running across the Muslim world. As practised today Madrasa Education is a clear violation of the human rights of children to equality, dignity and quality education. Along with funds, the petrodollar-rich Arab countries also provide the core curriculum and text books for these madrasas. This teaching provides basic grounding in an extremist religious outlook that keeps these children from interacting with other communities, even other Muslim sects, and thus deprives them of any possible opportunities for a normal life.
Most of the children admitted to these Islamic religious schools come from the poorest of the poor families. They are plucked out of their natural environment where they would have learned some skills necessary to survive as working adults. They are brainwashed in the madrasas by some semi-literate Mullahs and once their utility for attracting Arab funds earmarked for madrasa education is finished, they are literally thrown out on streets without any means or skills for survival. The wealthy and middle class Muslims do not send their children to madrasas, as they know that the only careers available to these children is to become low-paid Imams or Muezzins in village mosques. In some countries, like Pakistan, though, there is another option too. They can turn into suicidal human bombs, bringing some short-term prosperity to their impoverished families, but losing their own lives and killing scores of innocent men, women and children of other religions or other Islamic sects.
The madrasa educated have become easy prey to the terrorists because they have been given an education that neither values life in this world nor teaches them respect for other religions, and civilisations. Indeed, it teaches them to consider all verses of the Holy Quran as of universal significance, though the Quran is a compilation of situational verses, some of which came to provide instructions for those specific situations alone.
But nowhere in the world does the madrasa curriculum teach students to distinguish between the verses of universal and transitory significance like the ones that came during the defensive wars that Prophet Mohammad had to fight. Nor is the strong Quranic message of plural co-existence passed on to them in its right spirit.
I would, therefore, urge the Council, to find some way to make countries stick to the promises and pious declarations they make to appear to be part of the comity of nations. The Council should also reiterate the Durban Declaration’s goal of Dialogue among civilisations through education to all without any discrimination. Good quality education given to all students in Muslim societies would be conducive to both peace and prosperity of the world.
United Nations Webcast - UNIS, General Debate Item:3 (cont.), 27th meeting 19th Session 09 March 2012
No one can disagree with the conclusion of the third annual report the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children that “a renewed commitment of all actors is necessary to bring to life the vision of a world where children can be children and safely live, play, learn, develop their full potential, and make the most of all existing opportunities.” It is time the world community found a way of convincing the Islamic monarchies, republics and Muslim majority countries that their promises need to be kept and rights of children have to be looked after. If they do not have regard for international covenants that they have pledged to uphold, they should at least listen to the strong human rights content of the Quranic verses. Islam puts Huququl Ibaad (rights of all creation of God over us and our corresponding duties towards them) even above Huququl Allah (rights of Allah over us and our corresponding duties).
*The special representative’s report includes an Annex entitled: Political commitments by regional organizations and institutions to prevent and address violence against children in the framework of the process of follow-up to the recommendations of the United Nations Study on Violence against Children. This presents two declarations from Arab countries.
*1. Marrakesh Declaration adopted by Fourth High Level Conference on the Rights of the Child, December 2010
2. Cairo Declaration on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Islamic Jurisprudence. November 2009
Running a Madrasah or for that matter any establishment is not an easy task. Particularly so, in resource deprived countries & resource deprived communities.Try doing so yourself & see- funding, keeping discipline, commitment, health & hygiene issues, and of course, Learning the religious text!Any school for that matter provides a place for bonding, making new friends, exchanging ideas, sharing experiences, sharing in each others’ values in times of need & otherwise.The only objection as I see here is to the curriculum.
It would be a better idea, to use the already established set-ups but go further to invigorate it by adding Libraries, Books, sports facilities, and more funding.In a Mosque in New Delhi, just passing by, at afternoon prayer time, I happened to check in, and there was a lunch in progress! I was heartily invited to join the Meal in very simple settings, to some lentils and bread. Never in my life have I had a mealso good with all the little ones sitting in rows around me.
Even when there was not much to go round, the little hands kept offering me more & more of what food was available! As soon as it was over, some cleaned up the place some boys did the dishes, some served Water. Never will I ever forget that gathering! May God bless them all and their good Teachers!It is very easy to criticize but is there a Plan B for all these little guys in poor countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?Kind RegardsMohammed Ali RizviMarkham ON Canada
At least majority of Hindus are notsupporting Narendra Modi or even his party in states like: Punjab, Haryana,Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, and 8 North eastern states,Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa. How many statesthese are? I hope you are counting on your fingers of your feet by now afterhaving exhausted that of hands. Even in Maharashtra, majority of Hindus do notlike Narendra Modi. So which majority you are talking about? Yes if we countonly RSS shakhas then I can hope that he is liked by majority. But you neverknow even there is also a strong lobby favouring Nitin Gadkari over NarendraModi as Modi in order to appear taller has stepped on the tail of RSS and hashurt its image by making RSS appear gang of murderers. Nitin Gadkari has muchbetter and cleaner image and has good organizing ability too. Anyway so in noway majority of Hindus are with Narendra Modi.
Come to second part. When you agree withwhat happened in Gujrat was not between Hindus and Muslims it is your makkarito not go ahead and agree that it was the unjust Chief Minister who brought badname to Hindus. As for talking about Kashmir, your argument is that sinceMuslims of Kashmir do not come out to support Hindus in Kashmir, so it is OKthat Muslims of Gujarat should be punished! What nonsense logic is this Satwa.Are you out of your mind? Hang a lean and thin person because the fatter onewho was supposed to be hanged is difficult to hang. Wah!!
Lastly, Narendra Modi has written hisname alongside that of Ravan who too had made Lanka of Gold, as it is saidabout him, but was unjust. No matter how much Narendra Modi may bring FDI inGujarat. He forgot his rajdharm and such adharmi will no way be supported bysuch Hindus who believe in dharm. For adharmis like you and your Jansanghibrigade, haven’t you heard of that song ‘Ramchandra kah gaye siya se (I hopeyou know what is siya for, it is for Mother Sita, his wife, and I felt need toexplain this because you being Jansanghi are adharmi so possibly you do notknow all these), aisa Kalyug aayega, Muslim Hindu ko Hindu ki hi dharm yaaddilayega.
@Raihan Nizami,Sonika,ms, Khalid: When Sultan Shahin screens madrassa education – he is talking about present day scenario. The truth is even if you look around all the Muslim countries in the world, you will find that the syllabus of madrassas are not geared to groom it students in the arts, sciences and disciplines that are needed to qualify in the premium job market – let alone command a competitive edge there. He is talking about this very day. In the past era, most of our forebear had madrassa education and many of them did well in life – in terms of acquiring higher civil education post madrassa education and getting good jobs. But the syllabus of civil education meanwhile has remarkably changed/ advanced, while the madrassa curriculum, especially of those numerous units that have mushroomed at the back of petro-dollars, remains heavily loaded with theological disciplines and grossly under-represented in subjects that are relevant to the job market in the expanding business and industrial world and other fields that have evolved with the progress of civilization.
So the product of these madrassas are definitely handicapped in the job market and end up as a moulvi or muezzin in a mosque or a private teacher to children for Qur’anic recitation. But these jobs command very low wages, because of supply and demand, and its lack of any financial bearing / return.
Besides, there is no religious ground to bar the madrassa students from acquiring universal knowledge in all the fields and faculties as taught in secular / civil educational institution, and there is no religious ground to divide the domain of knowledge between Islamic and non-Islamic. Such differentiation was not done in the early centuries of Islam when all the prevalent fields of knowledge – mathematics, chemistry, medicine, geography, astronomy were not only taught in madrassas but were intensively researched and the base of scientific and universal knowledge was greatly advanced. But in later era, the orthodoxy rejected universal sciences and disciplines and unlawfully divided knowledge between Islamic and non-Islamic.
God alone is the fountainhead of all knowledge and there is no justification to have a madrassa curriculum that under-represents universal sciences and knowledge – as is the case today – just the opposite to that of early Islam. The writer has discussed the issue at some length in the articles referenced below that those interested to get to the bottom of the issue facing the Muslims in education field and global competition today may read. Ref: 1. An Open Reminder to the Ulamas: Rejecting universal knowledge as un-Islamic is brazenly un-Islamic and kufr (denial of truth) http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicShariaLaws_1.aspx?ArticleID=59612. The evolution of the Hadith sciences and the Prophet’s Sunna and the need for a Major Paradigm Shift regarding the role of the Hadith Corpus and the scope of Madrassa education.http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicShariaLaws_1.aspx?ArticleID=6581